Dogs that love to play tug-of-war bring a lot of excitement and determination to the game. They may hold onto that tug toy so tightly that you can actually pick them up by their teeth if you’re strong enough. But experts say that’s not a good idea. Bones and teeth may become damaged in the process. Don’t even let your dog pull the toy too hard, especially a young dog that’s still growing, or a creaky older dog with orthopedic problems.
Instead, make tug-of-war more structured and goal-oriented. Use it to teach the dog to pick up the tug toy and release it on cue. Let him know it belongs to you, not him. He’ll soon learn to pay close attention and will understand that all games begin and end at your command.